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Wed Feb 25, 2015, 11:02 PM

 

Kennedy, Malcolm X, MLK, Kennedy -- and Reuther?

Last night I was reading about the Reuther brothers, Walter and Vincent, who were labor leaders of the period from the Depression through the 60s, approximately.

As it turned out, I learned something I'd either not known previously, or had forgotten. Both had several narrow close calls, accidents, and the like, and Walter died in one of those close calls; there was speculation at the time about whether it was strictly accidental.

Walter Philip Reuther (September 1, 1907 – May 9, 1970)

An American labor union leader who made the United Automobile Workers a major force... in the auto industry & in the Democratic Party....a socialist in the early 1930s and...a leading liberal &...supporter of the New Deal coalition. Reuther led several strikes and in 1937 and 1940 was hospitalized after being badly beaten by strike-breakers. He also survived two assassination attempts, and his right hand was permanently crippled in an attack on April 20, 1948.[6]

On May 9, 1970, Walter Reuther, his wife May... Reuther's bodyguard...the pilot and co-pilot were killed when their chartered Lear-Jet crashed in flames at 9:33 p.m. Michigan time.

In October 1968, a year and a half before the fatal crash, Reuther and his brother Victor were almost killed in a small private plane as it approached Dulles... Both incidents are amazingly similar... When Victor Reuther was interviewed many years after... he said "I and other family members are convinced that both the fatal crash and the near fatal one in 1968 were not accidental."

Reuther had earlier survived an April 1948 incident in which he was hit by a shotgun blast through his kitchen window. Reuther happened to turn towards his wife, and was hit in the arm instead of the chest and heart. The crime was never solved.[16]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Reuther



Victor G. Reuther (January 1, 1912 – June 3, 2004)

A prominent international labor organizer. Along with brothers, Walter... and Roy Reuther, he helped make the labor movement a powerful force in the lives of millions of working people around the world...Victor became the head of UAW's Education Dept. and an organizer on the international level.

Reuther lent his support and leadership to the 1936 General Motors Strike where he faced down the billy clubs and tear gas of the violent pro-company police. He was famous during this strike for driving around Flint in a car with a loudspeaker mounted on the roof, encouraging the striking workers who were occupying the factories. Reuther was 24 years old at the time. General Motors (GM) workers in Flint took action, and the strike eventually spread to over 100 other production facilities. During this strike, 90% of GM production was stopped due to the shortage of parts and labor.

He was a vocal advocate of the recruitment of women, minorities, and young people into leadership positions for the union...

An attempt on his life took place in his own Detroit home, in 1949. While he was reading a newspaper, a shotgun-wielding assassin fired at him through a closed window, hitting Reuther in the face and upper body....Reuther lost an eye and the partial use of one arm, but survived. The gunman was never caught.

Even though the Detroit police had some very good eyewitness accounts and descriptions, they never followed up successfully on any of the leads. His brother Walter had earlier survived an April 1948 incident in which he was hit by a shotgun blast through his kitchen window.

During the separation of the UAW and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) in the mid-1980s, Victor Reuther was fully supportive of the Canadian workers' motivations. He felt that the UAW had been giving too much in the way of concessions to the US corporations, and it was his belief that the Canadian union would set a good example for their US counterpart. He remained active well into his declining years and died in Washington, DC at the age of 92.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_G._Reuther

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Kennedy, Malcolm X, MLK, Kennedy -- and Reuther? (Original post)
ND-Dem Feb 2015 OP
Takket Feb 2015 #1
ND-Dem Feb 2015 #2
appalachiablue Feb 2015 #3
ND-Dem Feb 2015 #4
appalachiablue Feb 2015 #5
villager Feb 2015 #6
ND-Dem Feb 2015 #9
villager Mar 2015 #10
ND-Dem Mar 2015 #12
villager Mar 2015 #13
Karmadillo Mar 2015 #14
ND-Dem Mar 2015 #16
hifiguy Feb 2015 #7
dmr Feb 2015 #8
villager Mar 2015 #11
frankfacts Mar 2015 #15

Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 11:06 PM

1. I drive to work on the Walter Reuther freeway every morning

I-696 in metro-Detroit.

Sounds like some amazing coincidences and bad luck........ or murder

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Response to Takket (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 11:15 PM

2. yeah, it's a lot of accidents, shootings and beatings.

 






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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Thu Feb 26, 2015, 12:24 AM

3. Lot of respect for 20th c. labor leaders like Reuther with Detroit. He was huge in importance.

He and bro. were sons of a German brewer; Walter b. 1907 in Wheeling, WV. Their bravery in fighting thug opposition was incredible. And the great story about Walter and Ford at a factory with early robot automation, c. 1950s when Ford said to Reuther, 'how are you going to get them to pay your union dues?' and Reuther replied, 'how are you going to get them to buy your cars?'.
Great story I heard from Thom Hartmann. I recall some of Reuther from my youth; saw him recently among Civil Rights Legends at the 1963 March on Washington in the PBS program, 'The March', very moving. Righteous, what courage. Good post.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 26, 2015, 12:33 AM

4. thanks. it's unfortunate the younger generation barely knows the name. i wish we actually

 

Last edited Thu Feb 26, 2015, 01:20 AM - Edit history (1)

taught labor history in this country.

Not written about the Reuthers, but about Governor John Altgeld, but same sentiment:


Sleep softly . . . eagle forgotten . . . under the stone.
Time has its way with you there, and the clay has its own.

“We have buried him now,” thought your foes, and in secret rejoiced.
They made a brave show of their mourning, their hatred unvoiced.
They had snarled at you, barked at you, foamed at you day after day,
Now you were ended. They praised you . . . and laid you away.

The others that mourned you in silence and terror and truth,
The widow bereft of her crust, and the boy without youth,
The mocked and the scorned and the wounded, the lame and the poor,
That should have remembered forever . . . remember no more.

Where are those lovers of yours, on what name do they call,
The lost, that in armies wept over your funeral pall?
They call on the names of a hundred high-valiant ones,
A hundred white eagles have risen, the sons of your sons,
The zeal in their wings is a zeal that your dreaming began
The valor that wore out your soul in the service of man.

Sleep softly . . . eagle forgotten . . . under the stone,
Time has its way with you there and the clay has its own.
Sleep on, O brave-hearted, O wise man that kindled the flame—
To live in mankind is far more than to live in a name,
To live in mankind, far, far more . . . than to live in a name.


- Vachel Lindsay

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/181266

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 26, 2015, 01:10 AM

5. Altgeld was a major figure for sure from what I just read. I knew of Lindsay- a fine tribute poem

to the IL Gov. Although the history of these brave progressive era fighters isn't taught it's still available online, for now if there's interest. Such a critical, formative period that's hidden, so many of the rights we enjoy today came from their earlier work and sacrifice. The actual oppression is daunting like the violence.
I thought I'd heard about everything in terms of exploitation until recently reading that garment workers were even charged for the chairs they sat in ('rent') at some shops, and mining cos. sometimes put a false bottom in coal cars to make miners work more to reach the required (2) tons. When the coal was weighed, workers pay was reduced from the 'shortage'.~Altgeld is 'old gold' in German; Roosevelt means 'field of roses' a Dutch guide told us at Normandy.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Sat Feb 28, 2015, 06:23 PM

6. I wonder what the ratio of private plane wrecks taking out progressives/liberals is...

 

...to those taking out rightwingers?

We have to add Dag Hammerskjold's plane "accident" to the list as well. Of course, for years that was considered too "far out" as speculation (and would have met by scorn by this site's own right-tilted posters). Until enough evidence surfaced to warrant a new investigation, as ordered by the UN:


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/14/un-inquiry-1961-dag-hammarskjold-air-crash

A 1962 report by the British colonial authorities in Rhodesia blamed the crash on pilot error but offered no proof. A UN inquiry returned an open verdict. Since then new evidence has come to light, including the testimony of local people that was downplayed or ignored in the original report.

The new material was published in a 2011 book, Who Killed Hammarskjöld? The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa, by a British academic, Susan Williams, who argued that Hammarskjöld was shot down by mercenaries fighting for Katanga. The Guardian also published a report the same year, based in part on the research of a Swedish diplomat, Göran Björkdahl, which cast doubt the official version of events, and pointed to the possibility a second plane had been close to the UN aircraft.

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Response to villager (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 28, 2015, 09:12 PM

9. and swedish PM olaf palme (1986)

 

Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden, was assassinated on 28 February 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden, at 23:21 hours Central European Time (22:21 UTC). Palme was fatally wounded by a single gunshot while walking home from a cinema with his wife Lisbet Palme on the central Stockholm street... The couple did not have bodyguards at the time.

Palme's assassination remains unsolved, with a number of alternative theories surrounding the murder. At the time, a murder under Swedish law was subject to prescription in 25 years. The law was later changed to prevent the Palme case from expiring, and thus the police investigation remains active.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Olof_Palme

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 02:42 AM

10. And of course the lone Israeli assassination (so far) just "happened" to be against a PM....

 

...who was pursuing peace.

Gosh. The world abounds with "coincidence."

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Response to villager (Reply #10)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 03:02 AM

12. yes; it seems like the left-right ratio of assassinations definitely skews left. another coincidence

 

no doubt.

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 03:04 AM

13. No doubt. And no pattern! And nothing to see here, or anywhere! Please move along...

 

And quit with the nagging questions, already!

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Response to villager (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 03:39 AM

14. Especially when control of the Senate is at stake: Paul Wellstone, Mel Carnahan

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110102_wellstone.html

Democrats Twice As Likely to Die In Crashes
Was Paul Wellstone Murdered?
History Suggests It
Crash Inconsistencies Suggest It
Many, Including Some Members of Congress, Believe It
by Michael C. Ruppert

Nov. 1, 2002, 15:00 PST (FTW) -- The air crash deaths of Sen. Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter, three staff members and two pilots at approximately 10:25 a.m. on Oct. 25 in Eveleth, Minn. has given rise to the widespread belief -- shared by at least two members of the House of Representatives who spoke on condition of anonymity -- that the crash was a murder.

Just as important as the known details of the crash, in many cases contradicting mainstream press reports, is the fact that the belief is so widely held. It says something about America that cannot and should not be ignored.

A HISTORY TOO FULL OF COINCIDENCES

From a historical standpoint Democrats are twice as likely to die in air crashes as Republicans. Frequently, those who have died were known to have been either involved in the investigation of covert operations or to have taken highly controversial positions in opposition to vested government interests.

Sam Smith of the Progressive Review (www.prorev.com) published an Oct. 25 story titled "Politicians Killed In Plane Crashes." For his source he used a wonderful database found at http://politicalgraveyard.com. Of 22 air crashes involving state and federal officials, including one ambassador (Arnold Raphael) and one cabinet official (Ron Brown), FTW found that 14 (64 percent) were members of the Democratic Party and 8 (36 percent) were members of the Republican Party. If the list was limited to only elected members of Congress, the total was eight Democrats and four Republicans.

more...

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Response to Karmadillo (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 12:37 PM

16. "64 percent were members of the Democratic Party" = interesting.

 

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Sat Feb 28, 2015, 06:34 PM

7. Wouldn't be a surprise in the least if he was murdered.

 

Walter Reuther was hated more than poison by the rich fascists of his day.

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

Sat Feb 28, 2015, 07:53 PM

8. My dad, who knew Walter, believed he was murdered.

I wish I could remember what all my dad said, but I do remember Walter was critical of Nixon, against the Vietnam war, and was horrified about Kent State. I'm not inferring these could be the reason for murder, but only what I remember dad talking about.

My dad, a quiet, calm and patient man was beaten and left for dead by GM corporate goons (that's what dad called them) during what started out as a peaceful demonstration. This was in the 1930s, I think; long before I was born. Walter saved my dad's life and help pay off his medical bills.

Anyway, when Walter's plane went down, my dad was beside himself with grief, and he believed Walter, along with his wife and others were murdered.

How I wish I could talk to dad today. He'd be 115, though - an age that is too hard to believe when I think of it.

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Response to dmr (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 1, 2015, 02:44 AM

11. Condolences to you, dmr -- and kudos to your dad (for coming through what the 1%ers "bestowed" ....

 

...on him).

As for Walter, there's a reason we don't have a "Labor Party" here in America, eh?

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Response to ND-Dem (Original post)

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